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To Mac, or not to Mac? That is my question

QuarterMasterQuarterMaster Registered User regular
edited January 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
I've been going back and forth on this for a loong time. It started last summer, when I was almost convinced that getting a Mac would be the best way to go. However, I eventually went back to the PC because I love the compatibility. Now, I'm starting to regret my decision. My computers been a pain in the you know where as of late, which isn't that hard to fix, but I'm starting to get fed up with all the problems that plague the PC world. Here's all the essential info:

I'm a casual gamer (occasional BF2, CoD, WarRock)
I'm starting to get more into photography/photo editing
I love graphic design
Would be used for study/papers
I have a Creative Vision:M, so that needs to be compatible.
Lots of music/photos/videos, so storage is important, which is one reason I'm not sure about the Mac..160GB isn't a lot anymore. tongue.gif
And last, but probably most importantly: I'm in highschool, so my budget is very small. The biggest I could go is the 17" Core 2 Duo setup, probably from eBay.

My current PC is very capable, but like I've said, the problems are starting to drive me nuts. So..what do you think? Thanks.

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
QuarterMaster on

Posts

  • SlungsolowSlungsolow Registered User, ClubPA
    edited January 2007
    Macs can also have problems. I've had to get my power supply replaced twice within a year of purchase.

    TWICE.

    Slungsolow on
    fuck your forums, fuck your administrator and fuck dynagrip for getting away with the long troll.
  • MengerSpongeMengerSponge Registered User
    edited January 2007
    If you have the money and don't mind dual-booting, there's no reason you couldn't still have games and such, and use OS X for everything else. As I understand it bootcamp works fairly well. My friend hates Macs, but needed one for (I think) final cut, and dual booting has worked fine for him.

    MengerSponge on
  • QuarterMasterQuarterMaster Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Does anyone know if the Zen Vision:M is compatible with OSX? Or would I have to go thru Bootcamp for it?

    QuarterMaster on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Brodo FagginsBrodo Faggins Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Does anyone know if the Zen Vision:M is compatible with OSX? Or would I have to go thru Bootcamp for it?

    I looked through creative's site, and there appear to be OS X drivers. It wasn't for the M specifically, but for the Vision series in general.

    Brodo Faggins on
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  • StudioAudienceStudioAudience Registered User
    edited January 2007
    A minor but perhaps relevant hijack: how does having one button on the touchpad effect windows usability if you were to dual boot? Can you set up an alternative button scheme to account for the lost of the right click?

    StudioAudience on
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  • PheezerPheezer Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2007
    A minor but perhaps relevant hijack: how does having one button on the touchpad effect windows usability if you were to dual boot? Can you set up an alternative button scheme to account for the lost of the right click?

    Hold the command key (apple key) activates right click. And you can attach mice with more buttons. I use a Logitech MX-510 with my iBook.

    Pheezer on
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  • Food?Food? Registered User
    edited January 2007
    I'd go with a Mac, just because it has the ability to do both Windows and OS X. Additionally, with the release of the new operating system, it will evolve into this.

    Food? on
    gr_smile2.gif
  • Project MayhemProject Mayhem Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    You mentioned ebay... don't forget to try the refurbished section of the apple store or if you have a brick and mortar store near you ask if they have anything refreshed

    Project Mayhem on
  • LoneIgadzraLoneIgadzra Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    pheezer FD wrote:
    A minor but perhaps relevant hijack: how does having one button on the touchpad effect windows usability if you were to dual boot? Can you set up an alternative button scheme to account for the lost of the right click?

    Hold the command key (apple key) activates right click. And you can attach mice with more buttons. I use a Logitech MX-510 with my iBook.

    In addition, you can set it so putting two fingers on the trackpad and clicking works as a right-click. Fairly intuitive, but kind of a pain. I just plug a mouse in whenever possible. For the most part OS X can be operated without much right clicking.

    As for my response to the original post, hell yes. I bought a MacBook Pro 15" several months ago and have had no cause to regret my decision as yet. The hardware is so much better-designed than the average PC laptop, and OS X is so much more pleasant to use (once you get to know it). I have XP installed for games, but it really is like the shitty side of town (and it runs a lot better than on my PC desktop, which I emphasize has zero hardware issues or anything of that sort). XP is just outdated, kludgy, and inconsistent. Vista improves a lot, but is still lacking sorely in the design and consistency department, as compared to OS X.

    To summarize:

    - OS X works better than XP (and even Vista in many cases) for various reasons and in various ways
    - Document-based GUI means it's easier to work on lots of different things at once
    - Lack of issues and more powerful OS means more work done with photography and graphic design
    - Mac version of Quicktime/iTunes is a shitton better than the Windows version. Very fast, nice programs.
    - Video playback works just fine if you install a few codecs or use VLC (and the Apple remote is awesome.)
    - For what it is, the iLife suite is damn good. I'm particularly getting a lot of mileage out of iPhoto since I'm spending a semester in France (only really need to run to Photoshop for more complicated edits).
    - There are enough Mac games to game casually, and you can dual-boot for the rest.
    - Read this article.

    Basically, if you're sick of issues, getting a Mac will make a lot of them go away, as long as you don't mind learning a new OS. (Once you do I personally guarantee it'll be better than Windows - which I have used as my primary OS for years - though.) They don't always look the best on paper in terms of hardware to price ratio, but as soon as you mess around for a bit you'll probably find like I did that the $1000+ was well worth it. I can't believe I ever considered getting a PC laptop, or spending half my time in XP.

    LoneIgadzra on
  • supabeastsupabeast Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I have used every major OS and hardware variant out there on computers ranging from crappy old DOS boxes to Solaris on supercompters. I gave up on Windows back when Linux was still cool; eventually I gave up on Linux and went to Mac. My experience with the OS has been great; it's rock solid and the x86 version performs like a champ. For creative work it's ideal, I'm in design school new and doing design full-time over summer breaks; using a Mac makes my life immensely better. It's not just that I'm not constantly dealing with OS bugs, viruses, trojans, etc.; Mac OS is just easier to get around in which makes creative work easier.

    There are some downsides. Most obvious is the lack of games, but if you're only a casual gamer you'll be fine. I mostly get my fix from my collection of game consoles and I fire up Civ 4 now and then. There are also hardware problems to deal with; Apple laptops are made of the same crap hardware as Wintel laptops by the same Taiwanese company, but Apple laptops are designed to be thin and look pretty as opposed to actually working well. Power management is a constant thorn in my side—at least 1 in 10 times my laptop goes to sleep it simply refuses to wake up. It doesn't help that Apple's tech support is a huge pain in the ass to deal with; getting an appointment at many Apple stores requires doing it at exactly midnight because so many people need their laptops and iPods fixed, if you go the phone route expect to spend hours on hold, being transferred, etc.

    Personally, I'd recommend that you just download a bootleg copy of Mac OS and run it on your PC, if it works right buy a copy of OS X to pay back Apple.

    supabeast on
  • ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS
    edited January 2007
    I spilled coke on my powerbook. They are charging me 600 dollars to replace the keyboard and the touchpad.

    I originally paid 1800 for it.

    You can come to your own conclusions.

    ege02 on
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  • SlungsolowSlungsolow Registered User, ClubPA
    edited January 2007
    ege02 wrote:
    I spilled coke on my powerbook. They are charging me 600 dollars to replace the keyboard and the touchpad.

    I originally paid 1800 for it.

    You can come to your own conclusions.

    is that with applecare?

    Slungsolow on
    fuck your forums, fuck your administrator and fuck dynagrip for getting away with the long troll.
  • sarksark Registered User
    edited January 2007
    supabeast wrote:
    Personally, I'd recommend that you just download a bootleg copy of Mac OS and run it on your PC, if it works right buy a copy of OS X to pay back Apple.

    That, good sir, is illegal.

    sark on
    tron4.png
  • Shazkar ShadowstormShazkar Shadowstorm Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    My only issue is some hardware issues I've had with my Macbook. Software/OS wise... my Mac is perfectly perfect.

    Shazkar Shadowstorm on
    poo
  • QuarterMasterQuarterMaster Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Ok, I've decided to go for it. :shock:

    I've searched around and found various websites with tips on migrating to OS X and it doesn't look too hard. What do you think the best way to go about selling my current PC would be? I've listed it on a couple forums, but would I get more if I parted it out instead of selling it as a whole? I'm trying to get around $700-800 for it and my monitor, depending on whether or not the latter is included.

    Thanks for the advice so far everyone! You've been most helpful! :D

    QuarterMaster on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • IrohIroh Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    If it's not too late, I think you are really cutting yourself short by getting a Mac when cost is an issue. You will without a doubt be able to get more performance for your dollar or keep more of them in your pocket by going with a comparable homestyle PC.

    Iroh on
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  • QuarterMasterQuarterMaster Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Iroh wrote:
    If it's not too late, I think you are really cutting yourself short by getting a Mac when cost is an issue. You will without a doubt be able to get more performance for your dollar or keep more of them in your pocket by going with a comparable homestyle PC.

    Yeah, this is pretty much exactly what I figured when I originally decided to stay with a PC. The price/performance ratio is definitely better with PC's, but my main gripe is really with Windows more than the hardware it runs on. I also debated going with a brand-name PC (Gateway, HP, etc.) but decided against it simply because, well, they run Windows. Now, if I did get one of those name-brand computers I would get a free upgrade to Vista..so, that might be worth considering. Still, I love that Macs..just work. Or so I've heard. :P

    QuarterMaster on
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  • mrcheesypantsmrcheesypants Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    You might be able to add in another hard drive and install a Linux distro on it(Ubuntu is highly recommended here on the account it's the most user-friendly distro there is). IMHO everyone should operate a Linux distro at one time in their life if only to get acquainted with the open source software world.

    This solution will allow you to play the occasional game but makes it just enough of a PITA when your on your Linux partition to keep you focused on your work. It is also probably the cheapest solution.

    mrcheesypants on
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  • QuarterMasterQuarterMaster Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Mm, I tried the whole Linux thing (Ubuntu) and didn't care much for it. Also, another small advantage I've seen to Macs is that they're almost impossible to upgrade (except the RAM and possibly HDD), which will be very good for my wallet as I have a bad habit of constantly upgrading my PC.

    Now it sounds like I'm trying to convince myself..which I sort of am.

    Edit: Regarding the prebuilt PC's I was talking about, something like thisis what I'd get.

    QuarterMaster on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Marc C.Marc C. Registered User
    edited January 2007
    My 0.02$: I switched to Macs 3 years ago. I got an iBook G4, sold it to a friend a year and a half later, got the latest and last iBook G4 revision and this fall, I bought a 20" iMac Core 2 Duo for my mom (by the way, Intel Macs are *fast*... but maybe it's just my G4 that's slow.). I never encountered any serious problems with any of my Macs. The only rough time I experienced was when I upgraded to OS X 10.4.0 (Tiger). I got half a dozen or so kernel panics, but it was quickly resolved with 10.4.1. The current version 10.4.8 is rock solid. Keep that in mind if you decide to get Leopard (10.5.0) at launch (sometime this spring).

    I'd finish with this: don't expect to *never* encounter any problem with your Mac. It's a computer like any other computer on the market and it's prone to all kind of failures (power supply and whatnot). Treat it as such and you won't be too disappointed if you have a bad experience.

    Marc C. on
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    ege02 wrote:
    I spilled coke on my powerbook. They are charging me 600 dollars to replace the keyboard and the touchpad.

    I originally paid 1800 for it.

    You can come to your own conclusions.

    My 12" PowerBook apparently gets hot enough even during routine use to warp the bottom of the case. I've had it replaced once, and it's now warping again (and it's no longer under warranty...opted not to go with AppleCare). It rocks when placed on a level surface. Last time it warped enough that the strip of metal between the drive and the keyboard started to protrude. After a little searching, I find my problem is not unique.

    Annoying. And this isn't even a first-generation issue...mine was the last generation of PowerBooks, IIRC.

    Macs are not perfect, and they have their share of defects. They are often expensive as fuck to fix, too (unless you opt for AppleCare, which can also be expensive as fuck...after buying one of their expensive as fuck computers, you may not be able to afford it).

    Despite all that, I love my Mac. I love OSX, I find it's much more enjoyable for everyday use, and I really don't even miss the gaming all that much (helps that I own a Wii, Xbox, and PS2...and soon a 360). I think you'll enjoy it, especially now with dualbooting. I currently run Windows inside of VirtualPC, and I find it meets all my non-gaming needs. I can't imagine how nice it would be if it could run Windows native.

    mcdermott on
  • MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Just to clarify, because I've also thought of getting an iBook. I can run OS X for the majority of the time, but then use bootcamp to run XP so I can play my plethora of games without issue?

    MegaMan001 on
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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    MegaMan001 wrote:
    Just to clarify, because I've also thought of getting an iBook. I can run OS X for the majority of the time, but then use bootcamp to run XP so I can play my plethora of games without issue?

    Unless I'm mistaken, the MacBooks (replacement for iBooks) only have integrated graphics...so your game performance may not be all you're hoping for. As long as that's not an issue, then yes you should have no issues doing so.

    The MacBook Pros come with some form of Mobility Radeons, but they also start at $2000 (without student discount).

    mcdermott on
  • ProtoProto Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Iroh wrote:
    If it's not too late, I think you are really cutting yourself short by getting a Mac when cost is an issue. You will without a doubt be able to get more performance for your dollar or keep more of them in your pocket by going with a comparable homestyle PC.

    Yeah, this is pretty much exactly what I figured when I originally decided to stay with a PC. The price/performance ratio is definitely better with PC's, but my main gripe is really with Windows more than the hardware it runs on. I also debated going with a brand-name PC (Gateway, HP, etc.) but decided against it simply because, well, they run Windows. Now, if I did get one of those name-brand computers I would get a free upgrade to Vista..so, that might be worth considering. Still, I love that Macs..just work. Or so I've heard. :P

    Actually I think hardware is your issue. Most problems people attribute to Windows (at least when you running XP) are actually problems caused by cheap or incompatible hardware. When you buy those pre-made computers you are getting cheap hardware (that is how they make money and keep prices low).

    What kind of computer are you running now?

    If you want a new computer I'd research and buy the best parts you can and then assemble it yourself (or get a good shop to do it). You'll get a way better machine then you could ever get if you bought a Mac, and it'll run great too.

    Mac prices are just plain stupid for what you get (laptops excluded). With your limited budget I just can't see a reason to spend that kind of money.

    Proto on
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  • ZonkytonkmanZonkytonkman Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    just my .02

    i bought a macbook a few weeks ago
    new, 1100 dollar model.

    right now i've got skype, messenger, and fire fox running.

    i'm typing about five seconds faster than my typing can load. This is constantly a problem. Microsoft office takes forever to open, or even switch between documents. This thing is near useless if i try to boot up pandora.

    I'm taking it back monday, when my company is buying me a pc laptop. It'd be going back regardless because of my company, but i'll probably give it the finger as i hand it back because of all the shit i've put up with.

    oh, it's reset about 10 times in the last two weeks, ruining an hour or so of work each time.

    Zonkytonkman on
    Sig is too tall - Elki
    walnutmon wrote: »
    Seta 3000 wrote: »
    so walnutmon, have you told your girlfriend that you'll hit her if she leaves you
    Actually yes. She doesn't care, because she knows i'm kidding. But i'm not, i'll kick her right in the vagina. By the way, I got jailed for posting about an emulator I use, because I didn't think that was bad. It has very little to do with the fact that I want to beat women.
  • QuarterMasterQuarterMaster Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    The computer I'm running now is custom built by me. ;) I'm very into PC's at the moment, which is why this is a big step for me. All the hardware is compatible, not to say it doesn't have issues, but it's been stable. The two reasons I'm not going with a laptop are 1) poor graphics performance (unless you spend a lot) and 2) not good for design, etc. (unless you spend a lot).

    It makes me kind of wary with all these problems you guys seem to be having, but when you think about it, I think a fewer percentage of Mac users have problems when compared with the PC community.

    QuarterMaster on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • ZonkytonkmanZonkytonkman Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    it is very possible that i've bought a lemon. just so's you know. I don' tknow enough about mac's to know the difference.

    Zonkytonkman on
    Sig is too tall - Elki
    walnutmon wrote: »
    Seta 3000 wrote: »
    so walnutmon, have you told your girlfriend that you'll hit her if she leaves you
    Actually yes. She doesn't care, because she knows i'm kidding. But i'm not, i'll kick her right in the vagina. By the way, I got jailed for posting about an emulator I use, because I didn't think that was bad. It has very little to do with the fact that I want to beat women.
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    it is very possible that i've bought a lemon. just so's you know. I don' tknow enough about mac's to know the difference.

    As with anything, do some research before buying. Again, my problem with the 12" PowerBook was apparently a fairly common issue...it's basically just a design flaw. Fucked up part, though, is that this design flaw has made it through like four revisions without being fixed. Basically it's just accepted that PowerBooks will often warp a little on the bottom, and it's really noticeable on the 12" ones.

    Fucked up part is that it leads to functionality issues...the protruding piece near the optical drive was interfering with ejection on mine, and might have gotten bad if I hadn't fixed it. Looking closely at it, it seems my new case is doing the same. It can also lead to battery latching issues. Too bad it's out of warranty, because I hear this costs over a hundred bucks to fix.

    So yeah, research. Probably won't be as much of an issue with desktops...then again, if we're talking iMac rather than PowerMac (or Mac Pro, I guess they call them now) those things are in many ways laptops on a stand.

    Most of the Intel models are still in early revisions, but I'd bet that already most of the serious kinks have already been identified by the community. Look around, and make sure you aren't surprised.

    mcdermott on
  • LoneIgadzraLoneIgadzra Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I'm gonna re-post this link prominently so nobody misses it: http://www.anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=2232

    Seriously, read it, bookmark it, refer to it the next time we have one of these topics.

    Buying a Mac is not about how much hardware you get for your money.

    (Though to be honest, XP has always seemed slow to me no matter what you throw at it. Vista, as I've said, is improved, but still has some very fucking slow bits - the kind of thing Apple's spent the past five years removing in OS X. Certainly runs a little slower than XP on my PC, though overall I prefer it.)

    Also, I would really argue against Linux. In my experience even Ubuntu is far more of a bitch to set up and get things working in than XP. Plus GTK is the pits for GUI responsiveness, and KDE isn't much better. And finally, this is a pet peeve of mine, but I hate the majority of open-source software. It always sacrifices being able to find the functionality you want within the next few hours for having ten million features. Makes my day so stressful.

    LoneIgadzra on
  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    If you're still considering a Mac, it's worth noting that you can get Apple-certifed, warrantied, refurbished Macs from the Apple store at a fairly hefty discount. They even offer AppleCare on them, if you wanted the extra cover.

    japan on
  • QuarterMasterQuarterMaster Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    japan wrote:
    If you're still considering a Mac, it's worth noting that you can get Apple-certifed, warrantied, refurbished Macs from the Apple store at a fairly hefty discount. They even offer AppleCare on them, if you wanted the extra cover.

    Hey, I couldn't find this earlier for some reason. :lol: Thanks for the link! I'll consider this as sort of my last resort, in case I can't get anything on eBay, as the cheapest one I would want is the $949 17" Core Duo (I need the Superdrive, and the discreet graphics would be a big plus).

    QuarterMaster on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • SlungsolowSlungsolow Registered User, ClubPA
    edited January 2007
    it is very possible that i've bought a lemon. just so's you know. I don' tknow enough about mac's to know the difference.

    apple's customer care is pretty good about fixing or replacing (I believe replacement is some kind of 3 strike rule) hardware. Like I said in my earlier post, I've had my power supply replaced 2 times. The price of applecare is worth it.

    Of course, my experience with the genius bar is another story... but they still fixed it on time and under the terms of the warranty.

    Slungsolow on
    fuck your forums, fuck your administrator and fuck dynagrip for getting away with the long troll.
  • Project MayhemProject Mayhem Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    just my .02

    i bought a macbook a few weeks ago
    new, 1100 dollar model.

    right now i've got skype, messenger, and fire fox running.

    i'm typing about five seconds faster than my typing can load. This is constantly a problem. Microsoft office takes forever to open, or even switch between documents. This thing is near useless if i try to boot up pandora.

    I'm taking it back monday, when my company is buying me a pc laptop. It'd be going back regardless because of my company, but i'll probably give it the finger as i hand it back because of all the shit i've put up with.

    oh, it's reset about 10 times in the last two weeks, ruining an hour or so of work each time.

    Office is not a universal app yet, so you're emulating the ibm chip. And the return policy is 14 days

    Project Mayhem on
  • dacatdacat Registered User
    edited January 2007
    QuarterMaster

    I have both a PC and Powerbook G4 (the aluminum one). I have had the powerbook for 3 years with no issues and its used daily. I went to a lan months ago where a couple of guys had 21 inch iMacs and were playing Battlefield with the rest of the folks. The tech office here in my building has switched to running macs for the phone techs. their reason was that they had a pc, a mac and a linux machine under their desk to support the different setups here. Now they run parallesis (sp) so they can run windows and os X. (they play WoW on the windows side after hours so far no complaints) Granted they have the latest and greatest iMacs at if i recall they maxed out the ram in all the machines.

    Bottomline quarter is you are really not going to generate an educated opinion until you use it. [buy it then return it if you don't like]

    As far as the refurb stuff people have mentioned.. Apple has a firesale at their brick and morter stores the last full weekend of the month... if you call they will tell you NOTHING. thats just the way it is.. its normally just one table full of stuff. DONT BELIEVE THE PRICES ask them for a price check while you hang on to the item.. they have a black notebook they have to dig out to actually check the price. half the time the price on the box is wrong and is actually MUCH cheaper.

    at the firesale i acquired every single ipod video accessory for 50-70% off retail. I got a firewire 800 Lacie rugged hard drive for 70 bucks and ALMOST bought a mac mini for 300 bucks off retail.

    last but not least (sorry for the long post)
    if your going to school check the apple educational discount.. at my university the discount comes out to not paying taxes.

    dacat on
  • QuarterMasterQuarterMaster Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I know this is incredibly noobish, but does OS X Tiger come with iLife? If not, what apps does it have for managing/editing photos/videos, etc.? I don't want to drop $800+ on a new Mac and not have the basic stuff you need.

    QuarterMaster on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Marc C.Marc C. Registered User
    edited January 2007
    New Macs come with iLife pre-installed. That means iPhoto, iDVD, iMovie, iWeb and GarageBand.

    If I were you, I'd wait a month or two before my purchase. iLife '07 is bound to be announced any time in the next couple of weeks. Normally, the new iLife is announced during MacWorld in early January, but this year, the iPhone stole the show.

    Also, bear in mind that Mac OS X 10.5 is coming out this spring.

    Marc C. on
  • QuarterMasterQuarterMaster Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Haha, well, it's too late for that. :P I just got this on ebay for $901 shipped. It was a pretty good deal, considering it comes with 1GB RAM and some pre-installed software. I think it should easily last me into college, when I'll probably upgrade to whatever is the current mid-range desktop.

    Thanks for the help everyone! I'll let you know how it works when I get it!

    QuarterMaster on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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